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Jan 13, 2010 12:49 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Election date set; nominees lining up

Jan 13, 2010 12:49 PM

The special election to fill the Southampton Town Board seat vacated by new Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst will be held on March 9, the board decided last week, and the local Democratic and Republican committees are expected to line up their candidates this week and begin gearing up for the campaign.

The parties were prevented from officially selecting their candidates at nominating conventions planned last week: the Town Board had not yet established the election date, and state law prohibits nominations until elections are set. The date was set on Friday, and the conventions were rescheduled for this week.

On Saturday, unofficial Democratic nominee Bridget Fleming of Noyac, who unsuccessfully ran for Town Board last November, held a campaign kickoff at her headquarters on Jobs Lane in Southampton Village. The unanimous choice of the Democratic Committee, according to the party’s chairman, Gordon Herr, she will be officially nominated on Thursday.

The slot on the Republican ballot appears to still be a toss-up as late as Wednesday morning. Dr. Tod Granger of Noyac, Scott Horowitz of East Quogue, Rebecca Molinaro of Remsenburg, and William Hughes of Hampton Bays were all under 
consideration before the GOP convention on Wednesday night, party officials said.

Steve Lynch, the chairman for the Southampton Town Independence Party, did not return phone calls seeking comment. He said last week that the Independence Party would select its candidate for the Town Board seat in the coming weeks.

What was supposed to be the GOP convention last Wednesday, January 6, turned into a second round of screening, GOP Committee Chairman Ernest Wruck said, with each prospective nominee giving a six-minute 
speech. Mr. Hughes, who is the commanding officer for the patrol 
division of the Southampton Town Police Department, said he would have to retire from his post in police department if he was elected to the Town Board.

“I wouldn’t be allowed to be both at the same time,” Mr. Hughes said. “That would be ridiculous and would not be fair to anyone.”

As the commanding officer for the patrol division, Mr. Hughes manages everyone who wears a uniform, including all of the regular police officers, part-time officers, court officers and bay constables, he explained. During his speech, he said he would excel at helping Southampton Town negotiate contracts with bargaining units.

“I know where the perks are,” Mr. Hughes said.

The last contract between the town and the Southampton Patrolman’s Benevolent Association expired on December 31, 2008 and negotiations are scheduled to go to arbitration in March, said PBA President Patrick Aubé. The union and the town have been at odds over proposed 12-hour shifts for police officers, as well as pay raises for union members.

Dr. Granger, who was on active duty with the military for 20 years, touted his mass appeal to the party members gathered for the speeches. “I have appeal to everyone—Independents, Republicans, Democrats,” Dr. Granger said, emphasizing that he holds strong Republican values, as well.

He noted that his work in the military, a huge bureaucracy, helped him learn how to navigate through departmental red tape as well as work on a team.

Mr. Horowitz, who is the president and co-founder of Shoreline Insurance Agency in Rocky Point, told the crowd of about 50 people that he has already been effecting change as a private individual.

“I would rather do things than talk about things,” said Mr. Horowitz, who organizes the Hamptons Offshore Invitational Fishing Tournament each year and is also a member of the East Quogue Chamber of Commerce.

He explained that his business practices have led him to interface with local officials and push for limited government infringement on the private sphere. He said that his charitable work—the invitational fishing tournament—has helped him channel thousands if not millions of dollars into the town.

Ms. Molinaro, who works for New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., said that she understands what the people of Southampton Town want and need from her job. “I’m on the phone all day,” she said, explaining that most people she speaks to want lower taxes and less government regulation affecting business.

At what was supposed to be the Democratic convention last Thursday, January 7, Ms. Fleming spoke about the goals she hopes to accomplish if elected to the Town Board.

“We’re ready for new leadership and no more insider politics,” said Ms. Fleming, who worked under Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau as an assistant district 
attorney and chief of the welfare fraud unit.

At the meeting, Ms. Fleming said that she believes she will have a leg up in the race because she has more connections in the Southampton political world than she did in November, when she was still an unknown. During a phone interview last week, she explained that in the last race she has learned the issues that really matter to the community.

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Bridget. Please tell us your record in Southampton Town community affairs from 2001-2010. Did you not leave DA Morgenthau's NYC office in 2001? I guess being assistant district attorney for welfare fraud in NYC in 2001 qualifies you for the Southampton Town Board. This cannot be for real.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Jan 14, 10 9:27 PM
Fleming is absolutly for real. She is impressive, southampton town needs a person like her on the Town Board.
Nellie, do you really want yet another Republican on the town board? The Republicans have a majority already....do you believe that they need a supermajority?
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 14, 10 10:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
Real? Impressive? These are credentials? What is her community record 2001-2010? Nobody can tell me. I am waiting to see the details on Hughes background as well but it obviously appears that he has more of a community record based on the immediate controversy caused by his GOP nomination.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Jan 14, 10 11:25 PM
She has a web-site....WWW.Flemingfortownboard.com

I want to have more balance in Southampton Town Government. Not just the same/new Republicans.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 15, 10 11:21 AM
wow impressive, 8 years in the town, I'm sure she has a real feel of the pulse of the town(insert sarcasm). The maintenance guys at town hall have more credibility.
By politcal pawn (121), Flanders on Jan 15, 10 11:36 AM
1 member liked this comment
All of you complaining about Bridget Fleming - do you feel you are more qualified?
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Jan 15, 10 12:15 PM
I haven't announced my candidacy yet but maybe one of the maintenance guys at Town Hall will. I am sure they have a better understanding of the Town and its' issues then Fleming does since they have spent more time in and around Town Hall then she has in last eight years. She is nothing more than a media creation of her party just like "Trust Sally" Pope was. What is her record????????
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Jan 15, 10 5:13 PM
"During a phone interview last week, she explained that in the last race she has learned the issues that really matter to the community."

Really? We want to hire someone who takes a crash course on our local issues, instead of someone who has lived those issues for their entire lifetime? I'd rather hire my garbage man, at least he's been in this town for 30 years.
By AlwaysLocal (292), southampton on Jan 17, 10 2:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you AlwaysLocal. I cannot figure out why some folks just don't get it except for the fact that they are blinded by party politics/power and have no real concern for what really happens to the this Town. She has no community record and she even admits it in her comments.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Jan 17, 10 7:42 PM
Do you-all have somthing against Maintenance guys and garbage men. I know some them and they are pretty smart.
Fleming is an impressive candidate who has a lot to offer the people of the town. With Southampton town having a population better that 61,000 people, I want a town board member who has more to offer than, "I have live here all of my life".
We are no longer small-town Southampton. Time to get in to this century folks.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Jan 17, 10 10:53 PM
You miss the point...they know more about Southampton than Bridget. I would support any local maintenance or garbage person that understands this Town. They don't have to be a lawyer who worked in NYC in 2001 investigating welfare fraud (her only claim to fame and I would love to see her prosecution record for that). She has no community record 2001-2010. Check it out yourself...NOTHING!
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Jan 19, 10 6:04 PM
Be careful, folks. This is the same commenter who identifies herself under another piece as "nellie (charleston)", not "nellie (sag harbor)" as she does here. It matters because anyone who makes such a big thing of local background ought at least to be unquestionaby a local. That doesn't seem to be the case with "nellie", and it wholly undermines her credibility for me.
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Jan 20, 10 1:40 PM
Thank you for making me so important.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Jan 21, 10 10:28 PM
Important perhaps, but as I said, quite without credibility.
By fidelis (199), westhampton beach on Jan 22, 10 10:59 AM
Thank you again.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on Jan 22, 10 5:41 PM